Poroporoaki: Ta Noble Thomas (Toby) Curtis
E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā whakatiketike o te motu toko ake rā tātou ki te karanga a aitua kikini manawa, a aitua haehae kiri, a aitua kokoti here tangata.
E te kaikoutū i ngā Puna o te Mātauranga, e te kaihautū i te waka haorua i kauhoratia ai ngā manako o te ao Māori i tūtakina ai e ia te ao Pākehā, kua whakairihia e koe tō hoeroa ki te pakitara o te whare whakairo whaakaaro, o te puni whakamau mahara, me te kura whakaihu mātanga nā koutou o te ope whakahī manawa i para hei ara tokonga atu mā o pia me o tauira i te ao kua whakarereā mai nei e koe.
E Tā Tākuta (Toby) Tamihana Curtis mūrau a te tini, wenerau a te mano hotu kau ana te manawa i te rongo ko koe tēnei kua kapea nei;
‘I te paepae poto a Haumaitawhiti e!’
I tapaea ai te kōrero mō koutou kua wehe mā te ara tira haere;
‘Whatitiri ki te rangi, ko Te Arawa ki te whenua’,
Ka tere koutou i runga i te kōmuri aroha, i te awa roimata, i te horanga parekawakawa, me te tangi mutunga kore a te iwi i muri nei.
Tā Toby, tō rite te kimihia i muri nei, ō mahi te whakamaua kia tina, ō tapuwae te whāia kia eke, ō kupu kua tāraia ki nga hinengaro ō rātou i whiwhi, tō maharatia ka mokohia hei tirohanga mā nga whakatupuranga te whai tonu mai.
E te wahaika a Ngāti Pikiao, a Ngāti Rongomai, e te uri whakaheke o Tainui whakamau tō titiro ki te rangi, kei kōnā te okiokinga mōu. Takoto!
Minister for Māori Development wishes to acknowledge the passing of Te Arawa kaumatua, Ta Noble Thomas Toby Curtis (KNZM) this week.
The Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Rongomai descendant was knighted in 2014, for his services to Māori education. Ta Toby held a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Teaching, Master of the Arts, a PhD and a former Fulbright Scholar.
“Ta Toby was a leader of the highest calibre, articulate, a man of vision and had great mana amongst the various iwi and hāpū of Te Arawa. This is a huge loss for Māoridom and my condolences goes out to his whānau, friends and iwi,” Willie Jackson says.
Born near the shores of Lake Rotoehu, Ta Toby (82) would go on to lead an illustrious career through his many roles within the education and governance sector.
In 1966, he married Mary Agnes Sharry, and the couple went on to have four children.
Ta Toby started as a primary school teacher and worked with intellectually disabled children before progressing to become principal of Hato Petera College and vice-principal of Auckland Teachers' College.
In the 1990s he was Auckland College of Education Primary Teacher Education director, Faculty Dean of the Auckland Institute of Technology and was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Auckland University of Technology in 2000. He was appointed chair of the Iwi Education Authority for Ngā Kura-ā-Iwi o Aotearoa in 2012, and served on the council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
He was heavily involved in Māori broadcasting, and in 1997 was appointed chairman of Te Māngai Pāho, the Māori Broadcasting Agency. He chaired a Maori broadcasting advisory committee in the late 1980s, which led to the establishment of Radio Aotearoa, iwi radio stations and Māori Television.
“Ta Toby was the chair of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, was a member of the Iwi Chairs Forum, and also served on the Police Commissioner’s Māori Focus Forum.
“He was very active in his community in leadership roles such as the chair of the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board. A position he only just stepped down from in April this year.
“The leadership legacy Ta Toby leaves behind is best described in his own words which were that a modern Māori society can only flourish by adopting a more authentic mātauranga Māori approach,” Willie Jackson said.